Thursday, June 11, 2009

For future reference

Marisa
what i wanted to ask was if you would tell me what you remember of stephanie and reese?

Jennifer
Reese I don't remember talking to much, but Stephanie I talked to some.

Marisa
how did you know her name was reese? did she tell you?

Jennifer
Stephanie liked to write but seemed very angry. She'd kick your ass in a NY minute. She's the one I talked to the most right after you got out of Dominion.
No, Stephanie did.

Marisa
really?
shit.
i still don't remember any of that

Jennifer
Why?

Marisa
curious.
i'm remembering a lot more of times that have been a blank.

Jennifer
Do you remember Stephanie's diary? I always thought it was interesting that she was OLDER than you at one point.

Marisa
but have just been really curious about how much you remember of them because it's all still a blank to me.
i remember writing a story about a character named stephanie. don't remember when it changed to a diary... just know it did.
i remember her being older
she stopped at 17, said there was no point becoming an adult and having to be responsible.

Marisa
i've been doing some writing tonight. the kind i haven't done in years. can't stop shaking. dammit such a pain in the ass

Jennifer
Yep. I always remember her being 17. I honestly don't know who else I talked to. Once "you" called me from a gas station in another state and told me you were going to cut yourself but I'm not sure if it was you or one of the others. You didn't sound like yourself.

Marisa
that must have been the night in DC
i didn't know i called you.
that was after the first trip to dominion, right?

Jennifer
Yes.

Marisa
that was DC
i hate asking... could i call for a few? i think i need to hear you say it, if that makes sense.

Jennifer
Sure.

Marisa
k


DC... one of those experiences that cemented my belief in God (however much I hated Him at the time) and realized that while I couldn't understand why He wouldn't let me die, I couldn't deny He had my back.

It had to be DC because that was the only time I ever made it out of Virginia before getting caught.

After the first stay at Dominion... sometime in the summer of 1984. I walked out of the house with a few coins in my pocket and no plan beyond not going home again. I was dressed in my most stupid hitchhiking gear. a bandanna top, a ratty flannel button down tied at the waist and short cutoffs. It really is a wonder I survived those nights of wandering.
Along 234 I was picked up by a van load of guys reeking of pot. Hey, an opportunity. I was invited to party with them at one's house. After countless bong hits and the depletion of their stash, I asked if someone could drive me to DC.
The guy who agreed took me halfway there before asking what I was going to do in return for the drive. Um... nothing? He argued the cost of gas (what am I a $2 screw?) and the time he wasted giving me a ride. Stephanie managed to explain to him why he should not expect any sexual favors from me and why it was in his best interest to stop being a perv. She told him to drop me off at Union Station.
So he dropped me off... on 14th street. A section of DC then best known as a hang out for hookers and drug dealers.
From my conversation with Jen, I know the call much have occurred when I passed the first payphone. Razor blades and folded bandannas tied around my wrists, hiding the cuts, were my constant accessories. It's no surprise I was wanting to cut by then... but my only knowledge of the conversation is what she told me. I don't remember making the call. It had to have been Reese. What Jen said in our phone conversation tonight confirms that for me.

I'd never told Jen about that night. All she's ever known was the call.

I remember walking down 14th street, hands jammed in my pockets and trying to look tougher than I felt. After a few blocks, a red sports car pulled up beside me. The driver rolled down the passenger window, and keeping pace with my walking, offered me a ride. I refused but he persisted. A couple of blocks later I agreed to get in the car and asked him to take me to the nearest hospital. I was sick and needed a doctor. (Yeah, I had decided I was screwed and a psych ward probably the safest place for me to go)
He suggested going back to his place. I asked again if he'd take me to a hospital. Looking back, he probably assumed I was sick from withdrawal. Jen reminded me that at that time, the medications I was taking made me shake like someone with palsy. I'm sure I did look like I was hurting for drugs.
He offered me cocaine, I declined.
Yeah, I was screwed but not totally stupid. I knew I was in a dangerous situation and wasn't going to add more crap to my brain and make it worse.
I don't know why or how I allowed him to take me back to his apartment. By that time I'd given up and just hoped he'd turn out to be a decent guy who'd let me crash for the night.

ever the freaking optimist...

He lived in a gated apartment complex on the outskirts of DC. He showed me his place, a little one bedroom decorated with swords and daggers. He mixed me a drink and tried to chat with me. I felt like a caged animal and tried to feign a casual attitude and come up with a plausible story of why I was where he found me. Sometime after midnight, he made his apologies, said he had to work the next morning and I was welcome to sleep on the couch.
Instead, I spent most of that sleepless night watching the channel that displayed the building's security cameras and making regular trips to the bathroom to work on my wrists. It occurred to me I'd be in less danger if he found me bleeding in his bathroom and had no choice but to take me to a hospital.
I was too tired and scared to take it that far.

When he woke up the next morning, he fed me breakfast, gave me a $20 and told me I was welcome to hang out in the complex while he went to work. Said to get lunch at the cafe by the pool.

The first thing I did was explore the apartment. After finding a bag of cocaine and a pistol in his nightstand drawer, I went out.

I can't describe the confusion, hopelessness and desperation I felt all that day. I stick around until he got home and had the guts to ask about the gun. He said he dealt a little on the side and it was for protection.

He then offered me a job. He knew girls like me who needed a place to stay and he'd take care of me if I wanted to work.

The voice that had been telling me since the night before to GET OUT NOW finally broke through. I told him he didn't want me. I was nuts and that I'd spent my night in his bathroom carving up my wrists. I suggested his best bet was to take me back to Manassas and let my parents deal with my insanity.

He dropped me off at Manassas Mall that evening, pressed his card in my hand, said to call if I ever needed anything and left.

I spent the next night with a friend and the next couple of weeks living with my sister Michele.

There's more to the story... I did contact him during my next stay at Dominion. He sent me a negligee from Fredrick's of Hollywood.

The next time I called him it was with a friend who could listen in on the conversation and confirm for me that the proposition he had was what I thought. After that, I tore up his number.

Yeah, so that was DC. fun times...

I asked Jen tonight about when she talked to Stephanie. Apparently they talked a lot after that first trip to Dominion. It was during that stay Stephanie went from a character in a story to my protector. I can even remember the night it happened.

Later, I asked when Stephanie told her about Reese. It was the year I turned 21, when I was again losing my mind and, just for extra fun, finding out about my birth mother.

Jen said we were talking to each other just about every day then (I do remember that much) and that every time she called, it was like talking to a different person. So one day, teasing, she asked who she was talking to today?
"Stephanie."
"Oh? Then who did I talk to yesterday?"
"Reese."

I remember none if this. But give Jen credit for taking it in stride. She just accepted it.

So that's how she knew... it still amazes me. But she's helping me fill in the blanks. I thank God I had her in my life then... and now.


random quotes from our conversation because they made me laugh...
"I always loved talking to you because you were such an interesting person."
"I always admired Stephanie because she was mean. Not mean but she could get shit done. I'd even go so far as to say I was jealous. there are times I could have used that."

Thanks for tonight Jen. I think I can sleep now.